You may have seen our recent Listening Campaign, which we launched with the help of Student Success. In this blog, we’d like to tell you a little more about why we’re running this campaign.
First, a little about the campaign.
The Sustainability Team are currently developing a few exciting projects including the sustainability KEATS module, the sustainability conversations initiative, King’s Climate Action Strategy, and supporting diversity further within environmental sustainability.
While we could easily plan and develop these projects ourselves, they may not be as effective, relevant or engaging because ‘we’ (the Sustainability Team) are not representative of the entire King’s community, nor will we be as innovative as a larger and more diverse group of individuals. Rather, our aim is to ensure these projects are developed with staff and students in mind, to ensure they are co-created from start to finish. The campaign, therefore, takes the form of 30–40-minute one-to-one conversations between students/staff and a trained volunteer.
Sustainability is a framework encompassing a wide range of interconnected issues that impact people’s everyday lives in different ways. Given the opportunity sustainability gives us to envision and build a better world for all, it is vital that any solutions, projects and initiatives be informed by an intersectional approach and that they be co-created. Community organising and one-to-ones are one way we can achieve this.
What are one-to-ones?
One-to-one (or relational) conversations are the cement of community organising. So, let’s take a step back and briefly discuss community organising.
In case you did not know, King’s are institutional partners with Citizens UK (in fact, we are the first university to have a partnership of this kind). Our understanding of community organising is therefore very much aligned with Citizens UK’s definition (you can find out more about this here). The three key foundations of community organising are the following:
- Power – If we want to make a change, we need power. How do we divert power from traditional power structures? How do we shift from top-down power to relational power? By combining the different experiences and expertise of individuals, we build a much stronger force to create positive change.
- People – Centre the people impacted by the issue/topic at hand. Talk to the source of what’s going on.
- Leadership – Never do for others what they can do for themselves. The people closest to the problem are often the people best suited to solve the problem, so let’s empower them to become leaders.
Thus, community organising is about realising that we have power and bringing diverse groups of people together to create the change they want to see. And the key to bringing people together is building relationships, which leads us to relational one-to-ones.
Relational one-to-ones are intentional conversations that generally last 30-45 minutes. They are not an interview, survey or simple chit-chat. Rather, they seek to go beyond the surface and facilitate sharing from both individuals. The goal is to uncover each individual’s core values, motivations, self-interest and in doing so, find common ground. One-to-ones enable us to build rapport and trust, develop a public relationship, and ultimately, build a strong network of diverse individuals working together to create change that benefits them all.
Join us in co-creating exciting sustainability projects by signing up for your one-to-one here.
If you have any questions about the campaign, get in touch with us!